While Turner Broadcasting is working on this "multiplexing" business to televise more NBA playoff games, perhaps it could find a way to clone Hubie Brown and get him on more games. In fact, maybe Brown could describe his own cloning.
"OK, you're Dr. Auschlander and you have 3 hours, 25 minutes, 33.6 seconds to do the cloning. Now, you could go inside to get the cells you need, or you could take an outside shot. . . ."
Brown is no laugh-a-minute announcer -- or even a laugh-a-half, for that matter -- but he's the best analyst working NBA games on television. His Turner stablemate, Doug Collins, is nearly as good, but Collins is more likely to temper his criticism of players and coaches.
Not Brown. On the air, he's still the coach, speaking in absolutes. A few examples from Wednesday night's Knicks-Nets game:
* "When you trap, you always trap with your arms up."
* "You never throw the ball to a big man when his back is turned to the same plane."
* "At playoff time, you never, never try for the steal in the backcourt, because you'll always get burned."
When he's not being absolute, he may be absolutely puzzled by developments. Why weren't the Nets getting the ball to Derrick Coleman inside in the second half? Why did Nets center Benoit Benjamin let a smaller Knick slap the ball away from him in the lane? Why did the Nets run a post-up play for P. J. Brown instead of Coleman late in the game?
And Hubie Brown can telestrate with the best of them. "Czar of the Telestrator," hah! Mike Fratello was a pretender to the throne. By the time Brown is through with you, he can say, "They're coming off the screen and catching the player behind the rotator," and you swear you almost know what he means.
No mint julep cam?
ABC's Kentucky Derby coverage tomorrow (4:30 p.m., channels 13, 7) will include a pre-race feature on the former king of the Maryland circuit, Kent Desormeaux, who will ride Soul Of The Matter in the Derby. ABC's piece on jockeys also will focus on Mike Smith, riding favorite Holy Bull.
Other scheduled features include a look at celebrity owners and interviews with father-and-son trainers D. Wayne and Jeff Lukas about the accident in which Derby horse Tabasco Cat severely injured Jeff.
ABC is inaugurating a backstretch camera this year. The camera, riding on a cable, will track the horses after they come off the final turn. It's the same kind of camera CBS used during speed skating at the Winter Olympics.
Monktonite (someone who lives in Monkton, not a substance that kills Superman) Jim McKay heads ABC's announcing crew, joined by Al Michaels, Jack Whitaker, Charlsie Cantey, Dave "Down the Stretch They Come" Johnson and certified beautiful person Julie Moran.
Moran, host of "Wide World of Sports," is included on People magazine's list of the 50 Most Beautiful People. I missed out again. Must be the new column picture.
How much better a deal is it for Channel 54 to have an Orioles game instead of regular programming? When it comes to ratings, at least twice better.
Friday's Orioles telecast, a 10 p.m. start, drew a 10.2 rating and 24 share for WNUV. Channel 54's usual programming at 10 to 11, "Hunter," featuring Fred "Hey, He Acts Better Than Joe Namath" Dryer, averaged a 4.0/6 during February sweeps.
Saturday's Orioles game on Channel 54, another 10 p.m. start, got a 12.6/25. The previous Saturday, "The Apollo Comedy Hour" drew 4.5/8 at 10 to 11.
And while we're talking ratings, Channel 13's decision to bypass ABC's NHL coverage hasn't been refuted by national numbers. The NHL had a 1.7 rating Sunday, but a movie, "Criminal Justice," shown on WJZ during the NHL time slot drew a 3.6. The bad news for the NHL extends to ESPN. USA Today reported this week that the NHL playoffs were averaging a 1.0 cable rating. Over the past two years, Arena Football, shown at midnight, has drawn a 0.9 for ESPN.
(Local ratings courtesy of Sharon "The Ratings Maven" Walz of Channel 11, who will recite shares for "Full House" as an opening act for the Rolling Stones this summer.)
Ratings measure the percentage of television households watching a program. Shares measure the percentage among homes where television is in use. And to talk ratings, call 555-RATE. Ask for Monique. Must be 18 or older or have parent's permission. Minimum charge $3.95. Not available in North Dakota.
A network of their own
The Colorado Silver Bullets, the all-female baseball team, will be seen playing a team of Northern League all-stars Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Steve Physioc, Terry Gannon and Deb Kaufman will cover the game. Sorry, no Geena Davis.
Raycom is producing "Off the Record with Pat Summerall," a weekly sports interview show scheduled to debut in September. If these are off-the-record conversations, though, you have to promise not to listen . . . . Now there's a Taco Bell commercial with Dick Vitale. And you thought it was just their food that was gassy.